Wednesday 17, February 2016

Abu Dhabi – MENA Herald: As the rapidly declining bee population continues to threaten the world’s nutritional standards, farming industries and food security at large, scientists at the Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture (GFIA) have outlined the progress in micro-chip technology to help monitor bees.

Professor Paulo de Souza, Office of the Chief Executive Science Leader, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia, delivered a compelling presentation at the GFIA, which concludes today (17 February), on the rapid and unprecedented decline in honey bee population and provided a progress update on the work undertaken by the Global Initiative for Honey Bee Health (GIHH).

“We are struggling to fully understand the reasons for the bee decline and we must change the way we conduct science,” said Professor de Souza.

Manually attached to bees, the micro-chips allow the identification of individual insects which record their movements and generate data allowing researchers to detect and understand the threats to the bee population and find solutions to help secure crop pollination.

”In the next decade the world will need 60% more food and 84% of global crop production relies on pollinators. The bees pollinate the fruit, vegetables, seeds and nuts we eat, and in a worst case scenario, food security is at risk.”

To address this issue, the GIHH, an international collaboration network of scientists, beekeepers, farmers, industry and technology companies including Intel, Hitachi Chemical, and Nissin Corporation, was launched last year and bees micro-chipping became the core focus of the research endeavour.

De Souza added: “Scientists and beekeepers at GIHH share the same technology, similar experimental protocols, openly share data and will publish results together. Embracing innovation in collaboration with scientists and governments is the key for a sustainable future.”

Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE, Minister of Presidential Affairs and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority, the GFIA is the world’s largest and most influential sustainable agriculture show welcoming thousands of agri-scientists, inventors, growers, food suppliers and producers, NGOs, and key government officials.

Self-sufficiency and sustainability in farming, and progressing environmental threats were two core themes underlined throughout the two-day conference, under the theme, ‘Rethinking Global Food Security’.

Secure and safe farming was also in the spotlight during a panel discussion of the key signatories of The Declaration of Abu Dhabi for Global Food Security through Good Agricultural Practices. The panel, presided by Dr. Kristian Moeller, CEO, GLOBALG.A.P., Germany, focused on debating standardisation systems available to farmers worldwide to promote sustainability in the face of progressing global warming.

The conference concluded with focused sessions on safe animal production, renewable energy solutions in horticulture, as well as alternative approaches to sustainable aquaculture feed led by experts from 17 countries.

GFIA is sponsored by the UAE Ministry of Presidential Affairs, Khalifa International Award for Date Palm & Agricultural Innovation, Abu Dhabi Farmers Services Centre, Emirates Food Industries, Koppert Biological Systems, AGCO, GODAN, Mato Grosso, The Rockefeller Foundation and CoolFarm and staged with the support of Masdar Institute, University of Arizona, Kingdom of The Netherlands, CTA, GlobalG.A.P, CGIAR, SAI Platform, Wageningen UR and the Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau.